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Travelog for: Etwas

Porvoo, Finland - 14th February 2009

By: Delenna

Sweet Valentine's Day!

In Finland it's called Ystävänpäivä which means Friend's Day. So here you send  a card or give chocolate or a cute fluffy thing to your friends. I knew I was leaving so I said goodbye to my new friends and they gave me a chocolate heart - which I ate right after  *poof*

valentines4 (2).jpg

* Posted Feb 14, 2009, 8:38 pm Last edited Feb 14, 2009, 8:40 pm by Delenna [Quote] [View just this post] Go to the top of the page

Okinawa, Japan - 11th March 2009

By: JaymeC

Dear Mommy,
I have finally arrived and am out of my package and able to explore Okinawa! But Jayme has been limiting our exploring. The weather has been so wonderful too! All rainy and icky and such! Jayme said its very good they're getting rain, they didn't get enough last year and the island had to do water rationing. I'm certainly happy with it, it looks like perfect ghost finding weather and Jayme said the island is very haunted!  The first place we went to was a place called the Wonder Museum. It sounded like a perfect place to find ghosts, after all aren't they wonders? But Jayme said it was actually a children's museum though. Here's a picture of the inside. Those balls go up and down and contract and spread out on their own, I wonder if there's a child ghost playing in them?
Here's a neat toy where you spin the handle to make the picture spin and make everything blurry
Downstairs we watched while the children played a stepping stone game that's supposed to help them learn to count.
We also got to see a small bug exhibit. I looked around for bug ghosts, but couldn't find any. I wonder if there is such a thing as bug ghosts?
We also got to learn about some simple science things like planets
I stopped my ghost hunting to get in on the fun a bit. This is a toy where you push on one side and the pins come out on the other. A very nice imprinting!
Well... no ghosts yet but I shall keep a look out. Hopefully we go somewhere fun soon while its still so pleasently rainy.

* Posted Mar 10, 2009, 8:28 pm [Quote] [View just this post] Go to the top of the page

Okinawa, Japan - 14th March 2009

By: JaymeC

Dear mommy,
Today something dreadful happened, the sun actually came out for about an hour! But Jayme said because this happened we could go out for a walk. Hmm. I wonder why we can't walk in the rain? Maybe its hard to balance the umbrella, us toys, and the camera... Anyway we went to a place where Jayme said its very likely we could see a ghost.  You see many, many people died here during World War II as as well as in diving or snorkeling accidents and its supposed to be very haunted! It is called Camp Zanpa. Here is one of the many memorials here.
During World War II many men, women and children were forced to jump off these cliffs by Japanese soldiers who told them if they didn't they would be captured and tortured and raped by the Americans. It was very sad. Over 100,000 Okinawans died during the battle of Okinawa. That is one of the reasons this place is supposed to be so very haunted. Its hard to believe this with the beauty it exhibits today.
Much of Okinawa is made up of volcanic rock like this. Its also what the cliff walls are made of.
When we were done with our walk and on the way back to the car we came across a strang thing. Jayme says this is the largest shisa on island, but what is a shisa? Shisa are dog/lions who guard against spirits. They're always found in pairs. A shisa with its mouth open like this one is female and it lets the good spirits in. A shisa with its mouth closed captures the bad spirits. Can you see how tiny we are at the base of this shisa?
Here's a close up of me and the shisa.
Jayme says she hopes the sun comes out so we can go do more soon. Hm. I wonder what I'm supposed to hope for? Rainy weather just seems so much better for ghosts, but alas no ghosts yet.

* Posted Mar 13, 2009, 9:13 pm [Quote] [View just this post] Go to the top of the page

Okinawa, Japan - 17th March 2009

By: JaymeC

The weather changed and we were able to really get out and about.  I can't say I like it as much, but at least it meant Jayme wasn't worried about going out.  We decided to go to the zoo. Jayme says the children really like it and it wears them out. So off we went to the Okinawa Zoo. Apparently lots of people had the same idea we did... see all those children? They were part of preschool groups here to visit the zoo!
Our first stop inside was the reptile building, this snake is called a Habu. There are many of these snakes on Okinawa and you have to be very careful because they are very poisonious. I think they're rather cute!
From there we stopped to ride on some toys, don't they look fun? The children really liked them.
We could also see another sign for the Okinawa Zoo here.
We found some hippos further along. They're out of the water waiting for their lunch.
The lion must've also been waiting for her lunch, she was very restless.
All the trees around the park are labeled, Jayme said this one always makes her smile a bit.
We also got to see the giraffes
And the elephants!
We had quite a day. If the weather stays so bright and sunny we'll have more adventures soon.

* Posted Mar 17, 2009, 3:45 am [Quote] [View just this post] Go to the top of the page

Okinawa, Japan - 23rd March 2009

By: JaymeC

Today we went to Shuri (or Shurijo) Castle. It is the main castle on Okinawa, and the most famous. It is the seat of the king of the Ryukyan Island chain. Of course since the late 1800s the Ryukyan Islands have been owned by Japan and there has been no sitting king. It has been destroyed and rebuilt 5 times in its history, most recently during World War II. First of course we had to drive there.
Here is the first gate we entered to the castle.
This is a view down at where we walked. The city you see is Naha, the capital of Okinawa.
Here is the entrance to the palace grounds.
And this is the palace itself!
Jayme didn't have time for individual pictures, it was very busy, but this is the throne room.
After we left the palace we were able to walk the grounds and found a shrine.
More updates soon I'm sure!

* Posted Mar 23, 2009, 10:07 am [Quote] [View just this post] Go to the top of the page

Okinawa, Japan - 23rd March 2009

By: JaymeC

Everyone needs some fun time! Today it was rainy again so we stopped by a children's play area. Jayme says these areas keep her sane since they let the children play for a half hour or so for just a few hundred yen (a few dollars). Here is the structure.
We toys got in on the fun a bit. We found a fire truck to drive.
And we played some in the climbing area.
Finally we rested with Jayme, this playing is hard business. Isn't it nice they include these massage chairs in the play area where you can still keep an eye on the kids? Just perfect.
After play time we stopped to get some McDonald's on the way home. The kids love their chicken nuggets and fries, but Jayme says they're a rare treat. Yum!
More soon,

* Posted Mar 23, 2009, 11:18 am [Quote] [View just this post] Go to the top of the page

Okinawa, Japan - 31st March 2009

By: JaymeC

Dear Mommy,
It has been rainy rainy rainy! Today we tried to go for a walk on the beach, but two things went wrong. First, do you see how bad the sky looks? It started sprinkling...then down pouring! Second, there was a festival of some sort going on the beach! They had a band there playing and all. Jayme says she didn't know what it was for, but it sure looked fun.
So we gave up and instead went for some more indoor exercise. We arrived in this parking garage type area. Hmm. Here's the entrance sign. Jayme says we're going to the playground....
Oh wow what fun! Its an indoor play area. First we chilled out on this thing, it spins around and around. It hard hard to get a photo.
Then we took a ride in the car.
They also had a small area that was netted all around with fans blowing balloons around. Jayme said the kids really love it.
And they had ball pits! How fun!
More updates to come soon, I promise!

* Posted Mar 31, 2009, 6:25 am [Quote] [View just this post] Go to the top of the page

Okinawa, Japan - 2nd April 2009

By: JaymeC

Dear Mommy,
The weather outside is still rather icky, so today we went to a place that is kind of indoors. Its the Okinawa aquarium. I say kind of indoors because while the aquarium itself is inside, most of it is lit by natural light and it has a large park to walk around outside. Unfortunately we didn't get to do the park today, but we had fun at the aquarium. On the way to the aquarium we stopped for a quick lunch near a bridge. Here's the bridge.
And here's the lunch. Yum! Jayme said these boxes are called bento boxes. Some of them can get very artistic, and usually they have some rice in them but Jayme says she doesn't like cold rice so she improvises.
Finally we arrived at the aquarium. Here I am at the entrance. Jayme says that statue is of a whale shark (full size) and I'll get to see one soon!
We went down into the aquarium entrance hall and could see there was a dolphin show going on. You can see the weather doesn't look nice at all.
Finally we made it inside. We stopped to see the fish. This is the largest live coral reef in the world that's lit only with natural light.
We saw some neat fish!
And even spotted a sea turtle!
Here's another view of the tank, it has about 5 viewing areas.
From there we walked down a long dark hallway to see some other small fish exhibits. Unfortunately its dark enough down here that pictures don't come out :( But we got to see some neat fish. Then we moved on to the show piece item of the aquarium, the whale sharks! This is the 2nd largest tank in the world, and the largest view-screen in the world. Here is me and the whale sharks.
They weren't behaving very well today for pictures. Jayme says usually they swim pretty serenly around, but today they were sticking to the top. We think it may've been almost feeding time, but we never saw them get fed.
Near the whale sharks is a place to eat and watch the sharks swim. We couldn't get a seat near the windows, but we stopped to have icecream anyway.
We went to the gift store then went on out. A dolphin show was about to start so we decided to stop by and see it. Here I am at the show.
The dolphins did some neat tricks.
After that it was looking really rainy and the kids were getting tired so we decided to head home. But we had lots of fun! Another update soon.

* Posted Apr 1, 2009, 9:29 pm [Quote] [View just this post] Go to the top of the page

Okinawa, Japan - 2nd April 2009

By: JaymeC

Today was Jayme's birthday! We had a small party. Here I am at the start of it relaxing with a strawberry daquiri.
We helped decorate, does it look nice?
We also put the candles on the cake!
We sang to Jayme and she blew out the candles and we all got to eat cake. We also played some wii and just hung out. It was a nice relaxing party.

* Posted Apr 2, 2009, 10:26 am [Quote] [View just this post] Go to the top of the page

Okinawa, Japan - 10th April 2009

By: JaymeC

Dear Mommy,
We've been very busy! Jayme has been trying to prepare for Easter. We should have lots of pictures of that this weekend! She said we're even dying eggs. hmm, I wonder what that's like? In the mean time we were all dying for some fresh air so we walked to a playground. There are big rocks like this one all over Okinawa, we took a little break on one.
We also found a nice statue.
And finally the playground!
We toys wanted to have fun too so I took a break to ride a whale.
And play on the monkey bars.
I'll have more updates soon I promise!

* Posted Apr 10, 2009, 6:48 am [Quote] [View just this post] Go to the top of the page

Okinawa, Japan - 13th April 2009

By: JaymeC

We had a great Easter! First we found Jayme's children's Easter Baskets.
Then we headed out for the Easter Egg Hunt. And guess who we saw there? Yes! The Easter Bunny!
They also had other things like face painting and such to do, and we had lots of fun checking out the fire truck.
Finally it was time for the egg hunt. Do you see all the eggs behind me?
And they're off! All the kids trying to get the eggs. The parents aren't supposed to help, but they were rather misbehaved at this egg hunt :(
We headed home and decided to make eggs of our own. Here I am dying eggs
Then we had to let them dry.
Then we put stickers on them! Such fun
Whew. It was lots of fun.  Jayme says I just have to do one more update then its time to be on my way....

* Posted Apr 12, 2009, 10:38 pm [Quote] [View just this post] Go to the top of the page

Post Office, Japan - 20th April 2009

By: JaymeC

Dear Mommy,
We had one more thing to do before I got in the package to go to my next host, which was to learn about ghosts! Aren't these pictures very creepy?
Jayme said there are many, many ghost stories on the base where she lives, but she's not supposed to take pictures of the areas they're at since its not her home.  But here's some examples of ghost stories.
At one of the daycares on base the children are always throwing their balls over the fence. The children (3-4 years old) say they're throwing their balls to the little girl in the house who is waving to them. No one lives in this house, or has lived there in many years. Everyone who moved in moved out again as soon as they could.

To get on base you must drive through a guarded military gate.  One of these gates they have a very hard time getting people to guard and eventually closed it because a World War II era GI kept coming to the gate and asking for a light, then disappearing as soon as someone pulled out a lighter. No one wanted duty there, so they eventually closed the gate.

Finally, Jayme says she lives on base for one good reason. Japanese people are very superstitious. Many of them won't live in houses that are supposed to be haunted, so instead they rent them out to Americans who are not as scared! Jayme says she stays on base because even though she's seen her kids giggle at the wall on occassion, she's yet to see anything harmful or scary here and doesn't want to brave one of the possibly haunted houses out in town. Apparently if Jayme's apartment has a ghost its a very friendly one since it always made her children giggle when they were little.

I had lots of fun visiting Japan! I got in my envelope and now I'm off to my next host. Hope you liked my updates!

* Posted Apr 20, 2009, 6:41 am [Quote] [View just this post] Go to the top of the page

Thessaloniki, Greece - 29th April 2009

By: vickyp

I have just arrived to a new place today....


I have arrived to Greece! Warm and sunny! And look, I have made some new toy friends. That's Ladomar, Kunigunde, and SunnyHH


They have done everything they could to make me feel like home! We have played with the kids toys...

Here I am riding on a scooter


this is a photo of us climbing on the castle


playing with blocks


and riding on a school bus


and even formed a music band! Can you see me playing the castanets !!!


* Posted Apr 29, 2009, 8:12 pm [Quote] [View just this post] Go to the top of the page

Thessaloniki, Greece - 6th May 2009

By: vickyp

Today Vicky took us to the city center.
She was too busy to take many photos and show us all the museums, monuments and places of interest there but she promised to come again on a Sunday just for sightseeing.

Well for now here are some photos we managed to get while we were there.

This is the Aristotelous Square, it is the central square of the town.  It is named after the ancient Greek philosopher Aristotle.




This is Hagia Sophia (Holy Wisdom) church. It is one of the oldest Byzantine churches in the city still standing today.
Hagia Sophia is part of Byzantine Monuments of Thessaloniki on the list of World Heritage Sites by UNESCO.


And here is a photo form one of the open shopping centers


* Posted May 5, 2009, 10:40 pm [Quote] [View just this post] Go to the top of the page

Thessaloniki, Greece - 10th May 2009

By: vickyp

Hi mom,

here I am helping Vicky to prepare christening favors, for today.


They were christening their little boy. It's a custom to give all the guests a little toy together with "koufeta". "Koufeta" are almonds with chocolate and sugar coating and they always give them to guests on weddings and christenings.


Also it's a custom to give to the guests when they arrive to the church a small pin with a cross. In this case they gave little bracelets.


* Posted May 10, 2009, 8:43 pm [Quote] [View just this post] Go to the top of the page

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